THREE DAYS OF CELEBRATION WITH CHRIS SMITHER, LAKE STREET DIVE, CROOKED STILL AND MORE IN NORTHAMPTON, MA
NOVEMBER 28, 29, 30
Signature Sounds was formed in 1994 by Jim Olsen and Mark Thayer to promote the burgeoning roots music scene in the Pioneer Valley. Prior to the formation of the label the partners worked on a number of commercial and fund raising projects at Thayer’s home-based studio in Palmer, MA.The label was originally housed in Olsen’s Whately home. From the beginning, the label focused on new and developing artists. Signature has released over 150 albums to date and has played a part in launching the careers of such notable artists as Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Erin McKeown, Mary Gauthier, Crooked Still, Eilen Jewell and others while also working with established singer-songwriters like Chris Smither, Patty
Larkin and Richard Shindell.
“The music industry has changed so much since we started the label” says Signature president Jim Olsen.“We launched several years before there was any on-line music retail. Our early albums were released on cassette as well as CD. These days over half the music we sell is by download. The Internet has also allowed the label’s artists to gain an international audience for their music."
2014 has proven to be a watershed year for the label. In February, Signature released Lake Street Dive’s Bad Self Portraits album, which entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #18 and has become the best selling album in label history. The band has made appearances on numerous network TV shows includingThe Colbert Report, Late Show With David Letterman, CONAN, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and CBS Saturday
From the beginning Signature has been involved in presenting live music, initially programming the popular Green River Festival and later presenting shows at clubs and theaters around the Pioneer Valley. In 2012, the label moved into it’s current headquarters in downtown Northampton and opened The Parlor Room. The intimate venue quickly proved popular and has hosted over 100 performances.
In January of this year, Signature Sounds
acquired ownership of the Green River Festival from
the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. The 2014 festival featured
sell out attendance both days of the festival, which was a first for the
festival. “We were thrilled with the response to this year’s festival”
says Olsen, “We’re so excited to continue to grow and improve the event.
We hope to make Green River Festival the ultimate live music event in
While Signature Sounds is planning a year of special events in celebration of it’s 20th Anniversary, the Thanksgiving Weekend shows at the Academy Of Music are the focal point of the celebration. At least 18 of the label’s artists will be performing, with many special collaborations expected.
The celebration kicks off on Friday night November 28th with a 70th birthday show for blues-folk icon Chris Smither who is also marking his 50th year as an artist. Smither will be joined by his band The Motivators, plus special guests Mark Erelli, Jeffrey Foucualt, Kris Delmhorst and Peter
Mulvey. This yearSignature has released two special albums featuring the music of Chris Smither- a two-disc career retrospective called Still On The Levee and an all-star tribute album Link Of Chain – A Songwriters Tribute To Chris Smither with contributions from Bonnie Raitt, Dave Alvin, Josh Ritter and many others. Proceeding the show there will be an in depth interview Chris Smither and Jim Olsen at the Parlor Room.
On Saturday afternoon, Tracy
Grammer and special guests will present a tribute to songwriter Dave Carter at the Parlor Room. Carter and Grammer released a series of critically acclaimed albums on Signature Sounds before his untimely death in 2003. Tickets for the Parlor Room shows will be available at www.parlorroommusic.com.
The Saturday evening concert at the Academy Of Music will feature an eclectic program with Eilen Jewell and her band, Winterpills, Heather Maloney, Barnstar!, Th
e Sweetback Sisters, and Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers.
Then on Sunday afternoon, the highly anticipated reunion of non-traditional bluegrass string band, Crooked Still will take place. After a decade of constant activity, the members of Crooked Still decided to take a break from touring in 2012 in order to pursue other projects and recharge creatively. Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem and Eilen Jewell's Gospel side project, The Sacred Shakers round out the show.
The weekend ends with Lake Street Dive closing out the Academy shows, along with Miss Tess & The Talkbacks and And the Kids who will release their label debut on Signature Sounds early next year.